By Andrew Westney
Law360 (April 2, 2019, 6:16 PM EDT) — The great majority of federally recognized tribes in the United States have urged the Fifth Circuit to preserve portions of the Affordable Care Act specific to Native Americans, saying those provisions have nothing to do with the individual mandate a lower court found unconstitutional.
A group of nearly 500 tribes, along with many national and local tribal organizations, told the Fifth Circuit in an amicus brief on Monday that a Texas district judge failed to analyze the history and purpose of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, the “primary, stand-alone statutory framework for the delivery of health care services to Indian people by the United States” that was included in the ACA.
The IHCIA and other parts of the ACA dealing with tribal health care “provide the foundation for an independent, freestanding Indian health care system,” and were made part of the larger law in order to fulfill the government’s trust responsibility to tribes and individual Indians, according to the brief.
“Striking down the IHCIA and other Indian health provisions on the ground that a wholly unrelated private insurance coverage mandate is constitutionally invalid would disregard those responsibilities and subvert federal Indian health care policy, without any indication that Congress had anticipated — let alone intended — such a result,” the tribes said.
For years CILS has prioritized the preservation and enhancement of the California Indian land base in California. Part of this work correlates with assisting individuals that have an Indian allotment or an interest in an allotment to understand their rights better and sometimes their responsibilities to future generations. CILS has conducted numerous presentations over the years regarding Native landowners’ rights under the American Indian Probate Reform Act (AIPRA) and the importance of careful estate planning for Indian trust assets. The AIPRA, enacted in 2004, provides for a national uniform inheritance scheme in situations where there is no valid Indian Will. The inheritance scheme is one that not every Indian trust holder may wish to have applied when determining who will inherit their trust assets. Unless an individual leaves a valid Indian Will, AIPRA’s scheme may control their trust property’s future. CILS presentations and Indian Will drafting help individuals make informed decisions. Typically, individuals have specific questions and concerns that they may not wish to voice to family members or friends but that CILS staff can address. All CILS offices provide Indian Will drafting for those holding Indian trust assets.
CILS Indian Will services are no-cost to those who qualify for our free legal services. For those who are over-income, CILS provides Indian Will drafting at an hourly rate – typically to cover the cost. While CILS does not generally take on work for individuals who are over-income, our Indian Wills practice is an exception. Most California private estate planning attorneys do not draft Indian Wills; their focus is upon those assets coming strictly under California state inheritance laws. Many of these private attorneys shy away from drafting Indian Wills, in part because of the perceived complexities involving Indian trust assets including Federal regulations, tribal codes, the AIPRA and the myriad of administrative agencies within the Department of the Interior. For CILS, however, this services is part of our common practice – and is much-needed throughout Indian Country.
CILS is available for Indian Wills/Indian estate planning presentations and Indian Will clinics. Tribes can contact their local CILS office to arrange this service. Individuals holding Indian trust assets, such as allotment or heirship interests or Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts, can also contact their local CILS office and speak with a representative about their eligibility for Indian Will drafting services.
To All Tribal Leaders:
California Indian Legal Services encourages tribes to review and apply for a new grant through the California Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC). The 2018 Budget Act established grant programs to focus on diverting youth who commit low-level offenses from initial contact with the juvenile justice system. The current funding amount of the Tribal Youth Diversion Grant Program is approximately $1 million, and the funding for this grant is up for reauthorization this year. We encourage tribes to apply for the grant as a demonstrated interest in the funding will show support and need for funding in this area. We will send out another Tribal Alert soliciting support for an increase in the Tribal Youth Diversion Grant Program funding on a later date.
The Request for Proposals (RFP) was released on January 17, 2019, for the two new grant programs with proposals due for on March 29, 2019.
Tribal Youth Diversion Grant Program
Current funding for this Program is $1,119,000.00 and is available only to federally recognized tribes in California. The funding must be used for a program that utilizes trauma-informed, community-based, and wellness-based interventions. The proposal may be a new or existing program – but if an existing program, this funding shall not replace existing funds from other federal, state, or local sources.
Examples of possible program proposals:
– Youth Diversion Court: where youth offenders attend an alternative court for resolution of the case instead of formal action with the juvenile justice system;
– Youth Courts: where youth offenders appear before their peers for resolution of a case;
– Early Intervention and Diversion Programs: where identified youth are referred to a community organization for coordinated support services to prevent the youth from entering the juvenile justice system; or
– Multidisciplinary Support Teams: where a team comprised of professionals from the mental health, education, juvenile justice, and/or drug/alcohol specialist provide supportive services to youth as an alternative to the formal juvenile justice system.
The examples above are not the only types of programs a tribal applicant must adhere to, and the Tribal Youth Diversion Grant Program also allows mentoring or tutoring programs to apply. Preference points will be given to regional applications that include an effort by more than one tribe. If your organization wishes to apply under this grant, the RFP details that there must be one lead tribal applicant and the participant tribes must submit a tribal council resolution detailing the tribe’s support and participation. A tribe will not need to meet a funding match requirement to be eligible.
Youth Reinvestment Grant Program
While funding under the Tribal grant is approximately $1 million, current funding under the Youth Reinvestment Grant is $37 million with awards of $500,000 – $1 million. Tribal organizations that work with tribal populations whose tribes are out-of-state and non-federally recognized tribes should apply for this grant. In preparing an application for this grant, the tribal organization will need to collaborate with a local government. This grant requires a funding match from the local government applicant.
An applicant may submit a non-binding Letter of Intent. The time period of submitting Letters of Intent for the Grants was due on February 20 and February 21, 2019. However, Letters of Intent are not required. Failure to submit a Letter of Intent DOES NOT disqualify an applicant.
Proposals for both Grants are due March 29, 2019, at 5:00 P.M. Applicants must submit a hard and electronic copy to the BCSS.
Please review both Requests for Proposals (RFPs) at http://www.bscc.ca.gov/s_youthreinvestmentgrant. If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact Mica Llerandi at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.